During the visit of Bishop Sixbert Macumi and Clotilde from our companion Diocese of Buyé this week, Bishop Jane Alexander and Bishop Sixbert announced a new project to give more members of Buyé diocese access to clean drinking water.
The offertory collection from the service celebrating the 10th anniversary of Bishop Jane’s consecration in May will be used to improve natural water springs in the village of Kiziba in Mwumba County, Buyé.
Bishop Jane and her husband Tim Alexander last visited Buyé in March of 2017, when the country of Burundi was grappling with the effects of severe drought.
"Today was a day of contrasts,” she commented on social media at that time. “There are many blessings in the beauty of this country and of its people and their incredible faith. But it is also heartbreaking to see the effects of three failed harvests and famine conditions in parts of the diocese..."
“Our partnership with Buyé is a friendship and, last year when Tim and I were in Buyé, we were impressed once again with the work around providing enough water for people in the communities, particularly during that time of drought. People were going great distances to the nearest lake for drinking water. We have an opportunity to replenish work around a spring in the community of Kiziba and, just as God would have it, the collection from the service is almost enough to replenish this spring. (The remaining funds will come from Reach). I was blessed by the service - a great thanksgiving - and the thing about blessings is you don’t keep them for yourself, you give them away.”
“In Burundi we have much water,” said Bishop Sixbert, thanking Bishop Jane for her blessing on the people of Buyé diocese. “But it is not well managed. You can find animals, cows and goats, coming to drink water and also people coming to fetch water alongside the animals. Clean water does not have colour, but the water that people are drinking from the lakes in Burundi can be coloured green and that causes people, especially children, to suffer from worms. This project will help people to have clean water and be well.”
Buyé diocesan secretary the Rev. Dominique Ciza also says that it is common for natural spring water - the primary source of drinking water for people in Buyé - to be polluted by erosion and livestock.
Burundi’s water infrastructure system was severely damaged by civil war, from 1993 to 2006, and clean water uncontaminated by bacteria and parasites is especially hard to get in rural areas. More than half of residents rely on lakes, rivers and swamps for their water.
To date, the Anglican Diocese of Buyé has constructed 30 natural water springs in Burundi’s Kirundo province, providing access to clean water for more than 11,000 people, and greatly reducing incidents of waterborne diseases.
According to Diocese of Edmonton Treasurer the Rev. John Gee, the cost of improving a spring is approximately $1,000 US. This investment ensures that a village will have a supply of clean water indefinitely. The springs have no moving parts and require no energy source and little maintenance. All that needs to be done is to add pipes, gravel filtration, and a concrete wellhead to an existing natural spring so that the water can be used without contamination.
“In other parts of Africa it can cost $30,000 or more to drill a well; the abundance of natural water in Burundi is a great blessing and makes it possible for a small investment to go a long way,” says Gee who visited the Kirundo spring while doing a practicum placement in Burundi in 2014.
“One of the main causes of child mortality and illness in Burundi is gastrointestinal diseases caused by contaminated water. By sponsoring one of these projects, a congregation or group can save children’s lives and earn the lasting gratitude of a whole village.”
For more information about how to sponsor a water spring project, please contact the Rev. John Gee at firstname.lastname@example.org.